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UB's Schaefer Center and Enterprise Community Partners Introduce Development Certificate Program for Baltimore Faith-Based Organizations

October 2, 2015
Contact: University Relations
Phone: 410.837.5739

As an old city with a colorful background in heavy industry, mills, shipping via rail and sea, science, medicine, and much more, Baltimore has a housing stock that reflects that wide range of livelihoods and lifestyles. From elaborate mansions to rowhouses, the city's real estate offerings can compete with those of any urban center along the East coast. But within that mix, there are some long-standing issues: too many vacant and abandoned properties, too many unaffordable places—too few opportunities for people, young and old, to live in a setting that allows them to thrive.

The University of Baltimore's Schaefer Center for Public Policy, with 30 years of experience in analyzing local issues and preparing professionals to lead non-profits, government agencies and public-sector organizations, is launching a new program to address Baltimore's housing crunch: Beginning in January 2016, its Faith-Based Development Certificate Program will be available to faith-based groups in the Baltimore area with city-based real estate holdings that they plan to develop into affordable housing or community facilities. Participants will go through a series of five monthly training sessions, and receive up to five hours a month in specific technical assistance, before receiving certification from the center.

The Schaefer Center's partner and co-convener in this initiative, Enterprise Community Partners, has had success with its Faith-Based Development Initiative in the Washington, D.C. region over the last decade. Building on that model, while adding Baltimore-specific insights, the program will bring together technical and financial experts with teams from Baltimore's churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship. The goal is to make the best use of a faith-based organization's real-estate holdings, especially if that use can help meet area demand for affordable housing and community facilities that provide much needed services and amenities to neighborhoods.

"Baltimore has a growing need for quality, affordable housing," said Ann Cotten, director of the Schaefer Center. "We know the demand is there, and we also know that the city's faith-based communities have a number of properties that could be a close match. For many faith organizations, there is lack of expertise with real estate development—how it works, who manages it, and so on. Our program is designed to fill that gap with professional expertise to enable these organizations to develop their property and enhance their community."

"Through our unique new partnership, Enterprise and the Schaefer Center aim to increase the supply of quality housing affordable housing and community facilities available to low- and moderate-income Baltimore residents," said Rev. David Bowers, vice president and Mid-Atlantic market leader at Enterprise. "We will connect houses of worship with intellectual and financial capital that will allow them to make informed development decisions, thereby helping them to be good stewards of their real estate assets. We are excited to partner with the Schaefer Center and collaborate with the local faith community in strengthening Baltimore's neighborhoods and residents."

The program will offer a curriculum that will educate and inform a select group of leaders from the organizations, who then can go through the housing development process with a high level of confidence and a realistic set of goals.

To be considered for the program, organizations must compete a Program Intake Assessment Form, which will be processed by Enterprise and the Schaefer Center in order to facilitate training and program content. The assessment forms are due by Oct. 26. Click here to fill out the form. The program fee is $1,000 per organization.

Learn more about the Schaefer Center for Public Policy.

Learn more about Enterprise Community Partners.

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.


Last Published 6/9/16